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Downtown Baltimore: A Parody

A funny twist on Petula Clark's drippy song, "Downtown" but updated for Baltimore City! [HTML]

Lifetime Boycott Awards

Best Buy

Near Security Square Mall, Baltimore, MD

While I had never had occasion to have good customer service there, one incident finished my patronage for this company forever. In January 2004, I purchased a dishwasher. I hooked the item up and it proceeded to leak water all over the floor. I called in a plumber who examined the unit and said that I had hooked all the tubes up correctly, but that an internal defect within the device was allowing water to leak out onto the floor.

I took the unit back to Best Buy and the sales associate refused to honour the warranty. I asked to speak to a manager. The manager would not speak to me in person, but instead said to me over an intercom, “I ain’t takin’ that god-d***ed washer back!” So I called the Best Buy consumer relations department and spoke to a district manger (while I was still standing at this location). This useless person simply called the manager at the store and backed him up. The manager then came out of his office and said, “You just get the h*** out of my store, you mother f***er. You ever go over my head again, I’ll kill you!” I called the district manager back from the parking lot, who told me that it was an “unfortunate” incident, but that no action would be taken against the store manager.

For a company to back up managers that threaten its clients and walk out on their warranties, I give Best Buy the Lifetime Boycott Award.


Towson Towne Centre Mall, Towson, MD

What most people don’t know is that there aren’t any PearleVision stores that are actually owned by PearleVision. This means that the managers are answerable to no one. I ordered a pair of glasses and was told it would take three days to get my glasses. I gave this person five days before I returned. I then found out that the sales associate forgot to place the order!

I demanded a refund and was rebuffed by the manager, who told me that they just don’t give refunds – at all. It’s actually illegal in Maryland to not offer a buyer’s remorse option, but this didn’t impress the manager. So I had to wait, and wait, and wait. I called PearlVision customer relations and found out that all the locations are “registered dealers” who just rent the name, but don’t actually have to atone to anyone for any customer service faux pas.

Ten days later, my new glasses were ready. When I picked them up, I told the manager that I didn’t have a positive experience. She sneered, “So?” I replied, “So… that means I’m not going to buy anything else from you – ever.” She looked me right in the eye and said, “So what!”

Well, there’s no comeback for that! I just took my glasses and left. I sure won’t be back!

 First Mariner Bank of Maryland

I’ve never dealt with a bank that has the tendency to randomly decline my debit card for trivial amounts when I have hundreds or even thousands of dollars in available funds. I’ve tried switching debit cards several times, but to no avail. This bank basically only let me access my money when they felt like it. Have I ever gotten a reasonable explanation or an apology? Of course not!

This weekend was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My debit card was declined for a purchase of $1.89 as Seven-11, and that caused the counter clerk to shout, “It’s declined” at the top of her lungs, causing me to be publicly humiliated. I went to the ATM and whipped out $40 in cash and saw that I had $1,100 in available funds. It wasn't the first time this has happened, but I swear it'll be the last! 

Nice job, 1st Mariner! As soon as this month’s checks are cashed, I’m closing this account and I’m not looking back.


Cavalier Telephone

I had this allegedly "cut rate" phone service for about six months. It wasn't really any cheaper than Verizon because it bundled a whole bunch of features that I never used. Well, one day, they lost my payment information. They deducted the funds from my checking account all right, but they never credited the payment to my account. So they turned my phone service off.

It was then that I realized that the ONLY way to talk to a customer service representative is to use the "I want to switch to Cavalier Telephone" option. For existing customers, the only options are automated services. You REALLY, truly cannot talk to a live human being once you've signed up.

So after my little deception in the phone tree, I was able to get in contact with a representative. She sounded like she was a 500-pound welfare mama, since she talked like this: "Lumme aks yoos -- whens yoo be payins dis bill, yo? Yoos fitty dollaz in dah hole!" I hung up and tried someone else. Same result. I tried a third time, same result. I quickly came to the conclusion that the entire customer service staff of Cavalier Telephone is made up of dumb, rude, black women who can't speak or think.

The third individual didn't believe me that I paid, despite the fact that I emailed (and faxed) her a screen-capture of my checking account activity that showed that I did indeed make a payment to Cavalier Telephone that apparently went uncredited. She said, "Yoos cans be juss makin' it up wiff dah Power Point!" Sure. As if I'd go through that much trouble to avoid paying a measly $44 phone bill.

I called my bank and talked to my branch manager and he agreed to participate in a three-way conference call in order to get the matter settled. I called Cavalier Telephone back (again, using the "cheat" of pretending to be a new customer, since that's the only way to get to talk to a real person.) When the latest bimbo answered at Cavalier, I explained the situation, then the bank manager also confirmed that I did pay the required amount through my online banking. So what did this bimbo say, "Howz I know dis be a real bank manager? Dis prolly juss be yo FRIEND!"

So I told them to just cancel my service altogether and to not bother reactivating the line. They must have found my $44 at some point, since they didn't try to take me to collections for it. I think a better name for the organization would be "Ghetto Thug Telephone", however.